SEO ROI’s Strange Problem With Maintaining Rankings

Over the past year I’ve had this site rank for a number of terms, after blogging about them, mostly on the strength of its own domain authority. The catch is that over time, I don’t see the traffic maintain itself on these longtail phrases. It slows and gets more longtail, then turns off.

I thought at first that the issue might be with my poor archiving, since I was using a plugin to suppress the ‘category’ part of category URLs, which broke the links to page 2 onwards of my category pages.

Well, I reverted to normal archives and haven’t yet seen a change. Google analytics is missing the past week of my data for some reason, probably because I added a filter that I thought would just generate a new report but in fact eliminated all my traffic. So I can’t look at things more granularly in GA. Sitemeter shows that I did have traffic during the days Google Analytics is showing things to be flat though, so it’s not like everything went poof.

Google Analytics data is gone

Sitemeter shows that I did get traffic during those days

And unfortunately I didn’t record the date I first activated the plugin. Within the past 30-60 days though, for sure. And my search referrals have all been at about 2000 month for each of the past three months.

Anyone else experiencing this plateau effect and finding solutions? I’m thinking partly it’s a boost from ‘query deserves freshness’ factors but still… I want to keep that traffic! I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments. Each successful idea  will win an hour of link building work from yours truly!

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  1. Hi Gab, I have that problem with some of my blogs too. I was reading Yoast's Wordpress SEO guide and for the important topics that you want to maintain rankings for, I think you need to go with Pages instead of Posts. He argues that comments destroy your "carefully constructed keyword density" but I'm not so sure. I notice more traffic when I get comments. You might like this:

    Comment by Rob Kingston - January 22, 2009 @ 5:43am
  2. I'm suspicious it's because you're using a blog and submitting the content as a feed. By definition, a blog is temporal. You're not writing permanent pages, you're writing comments that belong in a specific frame of time.

    Comment by Brett - January 22, 2009 @ 10:59am
  3. Not sure this is it Gab, but you've got a nice dupe content issue:{moz:distributionID}:{moz:locale}:{moz:official}&filter=0

    Comment by Andrew Shotland - January 28, 2009 @ 2:52am
  4. OK, this will probably be my last comment on this article (I'm talking almost more than you, Gab) but here's two ideas. 1. Create a Wordpress plugin which randomly shows an old article from the past at the top of your blog's page - easily done with the "Stick X post to the top of Blog" feature. 2. Hire people from Get a Freelancer or Mechanical Turk to write a number of comments. (this also gives you an excuse to reply to some comments and make the old posts look new.

    Comment by Rob Kingston - January 28, 2009 @ 9:53pm
  5. Assuming you don't have an issue with pages actually getting indexed, which it doesn't sound like you do or you don't have a dup content issue(wordpress is a ranking killer, once your blog starts getting more pages if it's not set up right)... It's simply a matter of pagerank distribution. The older an article is the further back it goes & the less pagerank it receives. Try putting up a sitemap with older posts displayed first. Build links to that. Also use the Wordpress SEO Pager plugin by SEO Egghead. It will create links to every sub page on the homepage (page 1 page 2, etc.) and distribute a ton of all that pagerank you are holding onto from the homepage to those older pages... Build some links to those subpages also... Or just get more links to everyone of those older posts. :) Hope it helps! [ed: Thanks for the tips, Craig. GUys, check out Craig's "Vacation Rentals" site.

    Comment by craig Mullins - March 13, 2009 @ 9:17pm

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